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Your Health

Could your prescriptions be causing depression?

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Nearly 3 in 5 American adults take a prescription drug today, according to recent research.  If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of depression, consider possible drug interactions and side effects of prescriptions. Dietary supplements could also be a contributing factor.

Depression can take many forms, but the most common signs include sudden sadness, lack of interest, personality changes, isolation and withdrawal. Five medications that may help some other condition can also make you feel depressed. These include:

  • beta-blockers,
  • corticosteroids (used to treat inflammation of blood vessels and muscles),
  • Parkinson’s drugs,
  • hormone-altering drugs, and
  • stimulants.

Avoiding trouble with prescriptions

Pharmacists have long been an excellent source of information about potential interactions or side effects. And primary care physicians have gotten better at recognizing medications that may interact negatively.  But pharmacists and doctors’ ability to help you is limited by how much they know about you.

An estimated 15 percent of people 20 and older are taking five or more prescriptions.

“Ultimately, the responsibility rests with you or a caretaker to pay attention to everything you are taking,” said  Aetna medical director Hyong Un, M.DMake sure that your doctor is aware of all the medications that you’re taking.  Educate yourself by reading the information that comes with your prescriptions.  If you notice something has changed after you start taking a new drug, be sure to talk with your doctor about possible interactions with other medications. Whatever you do, avoid abruptly stopping a medication or change the way you’re taking the medication unless you have talked with your doctor or other health care professional first.”

Want to know more about prescriptions and drug interactions? Consult this U.S. Food and Drug Administration site.